Hip-hop mogul JAY-Z has officially stepped down as an owner of New York basketball team the Brooklyn Nets so he can focus on building his new sports management company.
The 99 Problems hitmaker was a minority shareholder in the team and was instrumental in helping to re-brand the franchise from the New Jersey Nets as it settled into its new home at the Big Apple's Barclays Center last year (12).
However, the rap icon has since sold off his small stake in the Nets after launching a new sports division for his Roc Nation management firm earlier this month (Apr13) as the rules for the National Basketball Association (NBA) state that no one associated with a player representation company can hold ownership in an NBA team.
Jay-Z, who even helped to design the team's new black and white uniform, admits the decision to quit was a difficult one, but he insists he will always have an allegiance to the Nets.
Announcing the news in a heartfelt statement, he writes, "Being a member of the Nets organization surpassed some of my greatest ambitions. It was never about an investment; it was about the NETS and Brooklyn. My job as an owner is over but as a fan it has just begun. I'm a Brooklyn Net forever... A thank you and deepest appreciation goes to the fans. You are the lifeblood of any team...
"The Nets have made their mark on the NBA and as they enter a new era, Roc Nation does as well; as we embark on Roc Nation Sports. Our newest endeavor is committed to building the brands of professional athletes as we have done for some of today's top music artists. For Roc Nation Sports to function at its full potential, NBA rules stipulate that I relinquish my ownership in the Brooklyn Nets. It was a tough decision but as I stated earlier, it's not about ownership. Congratulations to The Nets on a great season and making the playoffs! I will always be a Brooklyn Net."
The news comes just days after Nets head coach P.J. Carlesimo urged the superstar not to end his involvement with the club, stating, "It would be disappointing (if he left the Nets). I would be disappointed. I like his involvement with our team."